This missed call scam is catching Australian's off guard

By Marni Dixit February 12, 2018
Man using iphone annoyed

Do not return unexpected phone calls from overseas!

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is warning that mobile phone users shouldn't return unexpected phone calls from international phone numbers. ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard says the scam is known as a wangiri scam, which is a Japanese word roughly translated to "one cut". Speaking with the ABC, she said:

"What typically happens is the scammer calls for just one ring then cuts the line leaving a missed call on the victim's phone.”

"Then the victim calls the number back and they could be put on hold, have music playing or they could try and chat.”

The scammers make their money when the unwitting person returns the missed call which is a premium number similar to those used by psychic hotlines and sex lines.

"There's a complicated billing structure but people are charged more when they're communicating over these numbers and the money makes its way back to the scammer."

It seems Australians have lost more than $48,000 to premium service scam calls and texts in the last year. 

To avoid the extra charges, Ms Rickard recommends ignoring calls from country codes you don't recognise as well as 19 or 1900 numbers within Australia.

"That's an indication that it's a premium number and it's going to cost you extra to be calling that number."

She also added that sometimes if you call your mobile provider and tell them what happened, they will reverse the charge. 

Image: Getty